Philanthropist Dan David dies at the age of 82

Dan David

Dan David

A prominent Jewish philanthropist who created a prize to support high achievers in the arts and sciences has died at the age of 82.

Dan David was born in Romania but left and made aliyah in the 1960s because his Zionist activities put him at odds with the communist government.

He became a successful businessman as one of the original creators of automatic photo machines for passport pictures and lived in Italy, Israel and Britain.

Mr David, who will be buried in Israel on Friday, suffered a brain haemorrhage and died in London on Tuesday.

Perhaps his biggest legacy was the Dan David Foundation, which every year honoured three individuals or groups, Jewish or non-Jewish, for their scientific, technological, cultural or social impact on the world. One of this year's prizes, worth $1 million, was awarded to the filmmaker brothers Joel and Ethan Coen.

Other recipients have included former Prime Minister Tony Blair, Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood and the former US vice-president Al Gore.

The prize has been handed out by Tel Aviv University since its creation in 2002.

Joseph Klafter, the university's president, described Mr David as a "renaissance man".

Last updated: 9:36am, September 7 2011